What I do, when I do it…

The Workshop – June 20th, 2009 – 1 of 7

The Workshop – June 20th, 2009 – 2 of 7

The Workshop – June 20th, 2009 – 3 of 7

The Workshop – June 20th, 2009 – 4 of 7

The Workshop – June 20th, 2009 – 5 of 7

The Workshop – June 20th, 2009 – 6 of 7

The Workshop – June 20th, 2009 – 7 of 7

Hey, so this is footage of a show I did called (duh) The Workshop on (double duh) June 20th.  I taped a bunch of my recent shows to post as part of a festival application (hello, boys!), and figured as long as I was putting one on the internet anyway, I might as well draw your collective attention to it.  I ended up picking this show for three reasons: it got written up in Eye Magazine (see below), it was good times, and everyone else in the cast has (I believe) received a Canadian Comedy Award nomination as Best Improviser (big time!)  Not the same as being there, I know, but for those of you who’ve been curious, this is me in action.  Bon appetit.

(SPOILER ALERT: My camera ran out of memory with literally a minute to go in the show.  So if you make it that far, and want to know what happens, they make out.  Improv!)

And, as mentioned, here’s the article in Eye.  Not so much a review, but fun nonetheless, and I’m very tempted to make business cards for myself with the slogan “sweetly pathetic and entirely misguided.”

Here’s the link:

Work, in progress

And here’s the article In case the link goes away (and, because I can’t help myself, with my name spelled correctly.  Grrr!!!):

Work, in progress

BY Sean Davidson June 24, 2009 12:06

The Workshop
Directed by Bruce Hunter. Saturdays, 10pm.  $10 ($8 for students). Bad Dog Theatre, 138 Danforth. 416-491-3115. www.baddogtheatre.com.

Though it previously made its home at the Tim Sims and at Second City proper, Bruce Hunter’s The Workshop has settled, for now at least, at Bad Dog Theatre. His well-regarded weekly experiment in long-form, sort of a skunkworks on stage, sprung from the classes Hunter used to teach while at Second City and is now part of the Saturday lineup at the improv house, running indefinitely into the summer.

“When I was teaching I always found the classes, the material, was way more interesting as soon as you put people up in front of an audience,” says Hunter, over drinks at one of the nearby bars. “They’re either influenced by the audience or the laughter and they go off in different directions.”

“So idea was to take that idea and run it like a workshop — in the sense that I can say ‘Do this’ and ‘Do that,'” borrowing a method from Theatresports founder Keith Johnstone.

“It’s a very basic way of getting people to discover things.”

The show is an exercise in directed improv, with Hunter perched in the front row, pulling the strings of roughly a half dozen performers on the stage — some veterans, some newbs, always different. It’s his job to connect the dots of the story as it unfolds, and to mess with the heads of his cast.

“Oh, it’s mostly messing with them,” he says, smiling. “It’s about a 60/40 split but then of course I try to tell a story.”

“What’s interesting about it is it allow the improvisers to not worry about being funny, or where the show is going to go. They get to play the characters — to be in the moment. The characters become alive and they become a lot more complex.”

Case in point: Dan Hershfield was centre stage for much of the hour-long show last Saturday, playing a sweetly pathetic and entirely misguided documentarian who re-casts his absent wife (Jennifer Goodhue) with a hard-bitten hooker (Workshop regular Aurora Browne). Drew McCreadie and Adam Cawley also popped up as two heavily accented producers. (Ah, Chinese and German. The world of funny voices would be a poorer place without them.)

The filmmaker theme was set by a shout-out from some audience member who’d presumably been to the Worldwide Short Film Festival.

Another presented an unwelcome comedic challenge when, asked what he’d done that day, answered, “I buried my grandfather.” Youch. And yet, Hunter rolled with it, and seemed to work the somber note into the story, which ended very badly for Hershfield’s filmmaker.

“Sometimes you don’t have to do much,” says Hunter. “The ones I like the best are where everything is flowing and I’m just sort of throwing more coal on the fire, watching it slowly burn up the forest.”


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